Village in homes battle.
With T-shirts now being printed carrying the slogan "Save Beadnell Village", and a petition circulating, locals in the community near Seahouses say they want a radical scaling down of Grainger Homes' plan.
The North-East housebuilder has been accused of plotting a "suburban sprawl" on the edge of Beadnell, whose scenic bay is regarded as an unspoiled haven of tranquillity by locals and tourists alike.
At a meeting on Friday night, there was standing room only as hundreds packed into the village hall to voice their concerns over the scheme, which could increase the size of the community by half.
The site was originally intended for just under 50 homes, but the final tally following earlier phases could be four times that number, following changes to housing density guidelines. "The whole village is now working together to make sure the views of local people are heard," said guest house owner Carole Field, whose property at Beach Court overlooks the bay.
"There are very clear feelings that to have something of this size and nature dumped on Beadnell is wholly unfair and cannot go unchallenged.
"Beadnell is a traditional Northumbrian seaside village, but it is already suffering problems because of the number of holiday homes standing empty for the greater part of the year.
"The last thing we need are more second homes."
Neighbour Val Sim added: "Everyone feels that this is far too big a development to be accommodated in a place like this.
"It is a village within its own right." As well as T-shirts, petitions and a committee, there are plans to launch the campaign on the World Wide Web.
Mrs Field added: "We will be using the village website to post information and updates, and will also be lobbying for a full environmental impact assessment to be carried out before any further building work commences."
The plans are due to go before Berwick Borough Council's development committee in coming weeks.
A spokeswoman for Grainger Homes said the company had addressed the balance between national and regional government guidance and local planning policies, as well as the nature of the site itself.
"We have very much designed the site with the local area in mind and all the different house types will respect the natural surroundings," she said.
"We will be looking to develop a reduced number of 122 quality homes, ranging from one-bed apartments to four-bed detached and, therefore, will be meeting the needs of a number of different house buyers, many of whom are existing residents who have difficulties buying in the county.
"We are committed to releasing properties to local residents first, to allow them to have first choice, and are continually discussing the plans with them."
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|Publication:||The Journal (Newcastle, England)|
|Date:||Apr 5, 2004|
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